Pointing Problems....solved.!!

Discussion in 'Laser Talk' started by kwilson, Sep 10, 2002.

  1. kwilson

    kwilson New Member

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    All,

    A must read: :)

    Recieved this in email format from the Thistle mail list. It is very well written, much easier to understand then others I've heard try and explain it. He is reponding to someone having a problem pointing.

    Happy Reading... :D


    ##########################################

    For some reason, you included me as an addressee in your question
    about pointing. I am no expert on pointing, but sometimes some-
    one who has recently struggled with a problem can be more of a
    help than an expert. Let me give it a stab.

    I had learned to sail in a world of stiff masts and soft sails, I
    had been away from sail boats for a number of years, and only
    started sailing again about ten years ago. I am having a lot of
    trouble adapting to the new world of stiff sails and flexible
    masts. Two years ago, I attended a coaching clinic in Indian-
    apolis. In the beginning, we were asked what we wanted to get
    out of the clinic. My answer was "I can't point, I need help
    with that" I learned a few things there that started me thinking
    in the right direction.

    Now let me relate some of the realizations I have had and some of
    the ways my thinking has changed over the last few years. If any
    one of these rings a bell with you, good. I do know that I point
    a lot better now than I did. I also know that I still have a lot
    to learn. Hints, clarifications or corrections from the experts
    are welcome.

    Keeping the boat on an even keel does make a difference. A big
    difference. The boat with a 15 degree heel and a little tug on
    the helm may "feel" like it's working in harmony with the forces
    of nature. But it's really laboring under poorly balanced
    forces. It may appear graceful to the spectator on shore, but
    the upright boat cuts much more efficiendly through the air and
    the water. Going up wind, keep the sails over the boat and not
    out over the water

    I had a lot of trouble seeing the shape of the stiff sails and
    "seeing" how the wind was responding to them. I had to learn to
    look at the telltails on the jib. I got a pencil and drew four
    horizontal lines across the main, perpendicular to the luff and
    passing through each batten. Then, along each line made some
    reference points, 30, 40, & 50 % of the way back. This lets me
    better see where the curvature of the sail is. The tuning guides
    tell where the deepest point of the curvature should be. In-
    creasing luff tension (cunningham) reduces the overall draft of
    the sail and makes the deepest part of the draft appear to move
    forward, Increasing the leech tension (mainsheet and/or vang)
    will will do the same, but make the deepest point seem to move
    aft. Increased wind loading increases the draft and seems to
    move it aft.

    In setting the jib, I usually have it sheeted in so the foot of
    the sail comes in contact with the inboard side of the rail about
    two feet back from the tack. The jib sheet turning block is
    positioned to give the correct slot as seen through the little
    window in the main.

    Now, with the jib set like this, I steer by the telltales. From
    my position at the helm, I can only see the middle and lower
    ones. The two leeward telltales I have streaming at all times.
    The windward ones are a different story. I find that as I head
    up, the middle one breaks before the lower one. I steer so the
    lower one is streaming and the middle one is at the point where
    it can't decide whether to lift or stream.

    I was not sheeting the main tightly enough upwind. The upper
    portion of the sail was falling off to leeward. Overall, the
    sail had too much belly in it. Yes, curvature of the sail is
    what deflects the wind and makes the boat go. But too much
    curvature can get in the way of a fast moving air stream and
    actually slow things down. Pull down on the boom to bring the
    top of the luff back in line with the lower portion. You will
    probably see that the top batten is hooked a little to windward.
    This is OK as long as it doesn't hook too far. Comparing the
    masthead wind indicator with the head of the sail may make you
    think you are sheeted too tightly, or that you are sailing too
    low. This isn't really so. Don't steer by the mast head
    indicator; steer by the jib telltales.

    If the end of the boom is a foot above the traveller, your main
    sheet is too loose.

    I have a set of Proctor sails, and with them, outhaul makes a
    difference. The amount of outhaul needed varies with wind
    strength. I set the outhaul so that the seam in the foot of the
    sail is 3" from the boom slot. I use the length of my fingers to
    measure. If the wind increases and puts more pressure on the
    sail, that seam will be pulled away from the boom. I tighten the
    outhaul to draw the seam back to 3" from the slot. Similarly, if
    the wind decreases and the overall loading on the sail lessens,
    the foot of the sail will appear to tighten up. The outhaul
    needs to be loosened to bring it into balance with the rest of
    the sail and let that bottom seam out to its 3" position.

    A couple of funny things about outhaul: Moving the clew farther
    out on the boom changes the leverage between the mainsheet and
    the leech. Also, pulling horizontally on the sail fabric shortens
    it in the vertical direction. Kind of like the way a rubber band
    gets skinnier when you stretch it. Outhaul tension enhances the
    ability of the mainsheet to develop leech tension.

    I am saying this not to tell you that you have to constantly be
    checking and adjusting the outhaul, but to illustrate how the
    wind affects the shape of the sail and what you can do in
    response to it.

    A lot of what I have written here is in the tuning guides that
    come from the sailmakers and has been there all along. My
    problem is that it really takes a long time for this stuff to
    sink in. The first chapter of "Performance Sailing" by Stephen
    Colgate has a pretty clear layman's discussion of sail shape and
    how it is affected by strains in one direction or another.
    "Sailboat Racing with Greg Fisher" by Tom Hubbel is the good all
    around resource.

    Books alone won't do it. What really helps is to get someone who
    is better than you to sail with you on your boat. Watch him
    (her) sail it. Let him watch you sail it. Talk to each other
    about what each of you are doing and thinking
     
  2. kwilson

    kwilson New Member

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    Than you.

    I think that his recommendations are overall valid even though they
    are specific to a Thistle.

    I am very interested in learing about the specific details of light wind sailing in a Laser. My expierience has been mostly on a Thistle and they are renowned for there ability in lighter conditions. Since the Laser has an easy planing hull the trim can be played from many degrees to utilize light wind to produce VMG.

    There's nothing better than a well shot video of a master at work. I just got finished following the Volvo Ocean Race, soon to be following the Around Alone and the LVC, and I can't tell you how much I learned just follwing these consement pro's at work. :)
     
  3. macwas16

    macwas16 New Member

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    i do know a little of light wind sailing

    basically all i know was taught to me by my junior olympic sailing coach who is also the head sailing coach at the university of new hampshire. what i was taught is that in light winds you should really heave on your outhaul making it really tight. a good amount of cunningham is good too. other things such as the fact that when you slip the sail over the mast, make sure the crease in the front side of the sail is always facing exactly frontword. if it isn't, the sail seems to slide around to the leward side of the mast. and MOST IMPORTANTLY is where your weight is centered in the boat. in any light to moderate winds you should try to sit as far forword as possible. if you sit aft, the stern really digs in. and about the around alone...if you were at the newport boat show last friday you could see them start i think the second or something leg!
     
  4. kwilson

    kwilson New Member

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    Re: i do know a little of light wind sailing

    [quote:53385807e1="macwas16"]basically all i know was taught to me by my junior olympic sailing coach who is also the head sailing coach at the university of new hampshire. what i was taught is that in light winds you should really heave on your outhaul making it really tight. a good amount of cunningham is good too. other things such as the fact that when you slip the sail over the mast, make sure the crease in the front side of the sail is always facing exactly frontword. if it isn't, the sail seems to slide around to the leward side of the mast. and MOST IMPORTANTLY is where your weight is centered in the boat. in any light to moderate winds you should try to sit as far forword as possible. if you sit aft, the stern really digs in. and about the around alone...if you were at the newport boat show last friday you could see them start i think the second or something leg![/quote:53385807e1]



    Good point about sliding the sail onto the mast....I never really thought about it I just made sure it looked about right.

    I've heard from many reputable people about light wind trim onboard a Laser and the story fluctuates constantly. I myself don't really play to much crank on the trim.....my thought is give me a managable bubble to play with, let her fill. I don't want to spill what little wind there is. However once I see that there is something there I play the trim I only really play hard on trim when I can't manage the boat or am trying to shift gears. And I usually sit forward of the centerb in the light. Downwind sailing by the lee is an art; one that I'm always trying to get......when I stop swimming I'll let ya know. :D

    As for the AroundAlone it started, [Leg1] in NY Harbor right after Sail America.

    Check out the website: http://www.aroundalone.com
     
  5. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Just Started...

    [color=darkblue:f92a836b99][/color:f92a836b99] I just started sailing lasers and even got my own boat. I am really excited :D . Does anyone have any hints or sugestions about riging or sailing? Thanks!
     
  6. kwilson

    kwilson New Member

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    Welcome aboard..!! :D

    My recommendations would be this. Sail the boat.

    Many people buy a boat then spend lots of money upgrading it and making it pretty.....just for the image.

    Learn to sail her first. Buy a book about laser sailing and read it. I wouldn't even race it of the bat ....just get used to it. Once you feel comfortable on her then, if you feel like it, explore the upgrades thats when you'll really notice the difference.

    Don't get preasured into racing for the good of the club.....thats what I did and it almost scared me away. It was to much up front before I was even used to the boat. There's alot of people out there that are desperate to compete and any new blood is rip for the picking.
    :D
     

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